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Construction at 'World's Largest' Kosher Restaurant Cost Eatery $2M: Suit

By Maya Rajamani | October 25, 2017 3:16pm
 Abigael's on Broadway, at 1407 Broadway, between West 38th and 39th streets.
Abigael's on Broadway, at 1407 Broadway, between West 38th and 39th streets.
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DNAinfo/Maya Rajamani

MIDTOWN — The "world’s largest and most prestigious Kosher restaurant" lost $2 million due to leaks, power outages and a rat infestation caused renovations to its Broadway building, a new lawsuit charges.

Abigael’s on Broadway is suing the owners of 1407 Broadway, located between West 38th and 39th streets, claiming that renovations to the building's interior and exterior that began in April 2016 has kept diners away due to “noise, vibrations, smoke and debris resulting daily from the construction,” according to the suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court last week.

On several occasions between April 2016 and August 2017, construction interfered with the 16-year-old restaurant’s air conditioning system, forcing patrons to vacate the eatery due to “extreme heat,” according to the suit filed against building owner Shorenstein and PM Contracting Company.

Power outages and water leaks became a frequent problem during construction, in one instance causing the eatery’s kitchen ceiling to cave in, the suit claims.

In January 2017, the restaurant discovered a “large opening” in the building created by construction, creating a “rodent infestation throughout the entire restaurant,” according to the suit.

Customers also fled the restaurant on several occasions due to “excessive” drilling noise, foul smells, and dust and smoke caused by the construction, the suit says.

Work was supposed to wrap up in November 2016, but that date was pushed back to this month, according to the suit.

“As a result, Abigael’s lost significant income during its busiest season, the holiday season from November and December 2016, because [it] was unable to host, nor did patrons want to book parties due to the appearance of the restaurant, the construction and the disruptions caused by the constant leaks, power outages and smoke entering the dining areas,” the suit claims.

In May 2016, workers removed the restaurant’s lighted sign to install scaffolding and a sidewalk shed, and the sign still hasn’t been reinstalled, the suit notes.

“... While construction is ongoing, the barrier [has] obstructed natural light from the restaurant, and prevents customers from seeing the restaurant, leading to customers inquiring if the restaurant was closed or had a fire close the restaurant on Abigaels’ social media accounts,” the suit says.

“The restaurant was almost completely invisible to foot traffic on the street other than an artist’s rendering on the green barrier,” it adds.

The suit claims the restaurant has lost around $2 million since the landlord’s work started.

If the current construction continues until July 2021, when the restaurant’s lease expires, the eatery could lose an additional $6.8 million, the suit says.

Abigael’s is now seeking the $2 million it says it lost, along with an order barring Shorenstein from carrying out invasive construction and requiring the landlord to “remedy all conditions” at the restaurant.

Its executive chef and co-owner, Jeff Nathan, and his attorney declined to comment on the suit.

A spokeswoman for Shorenstein also declined to comment, and PM Contracting Company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.